A Former Self-Storage Warehouse Turned Light-Filled Courtyard Home

When architect Kyra Thomas (Kyra Thomas Architects) and her partner Julian Reznik were searching for their new home, they were looking for a challenge; something they could transform into a spacious family home, but that was a little different to the usual inner-city Sydney property.

They found exactly that in an old self-storage warehouse, which they’ve masterfully renovated into an elegant family home that seamlessly connects exterior courtyard spaces with an open-plan, light-filled interior.

Bea Taylor

Floor to ceiling windows feature throughout the house, which was designed by owner and architect Kyra Thomas (Kyra Thomas Architects). Photo – Anson Smart.

Artwork by Wang Xu. Photo – Anson Smart.

Four courtyards were created inside the walls of the old warehouse, providing pockets of greenery in all corners. Photo – Anson Smart.

Artwork by Richard Serra. Photo – Anson Smart.

The kitchen stands distinct in the open-plan space thanks to its black stained oak cabinetry and stainless steel bench. Artwork by Richard Serra. Photo – Anson Smart.

Kyra likens the kitchen to a Donald Judd sculpture, which were recognised for their repeated geometric forms produced from industrialised, machine-made materials. Photo – Anson Smart.

The old walls of the warehouse are visible from the kitchen. Photo – Anson Smart.

A view from a bedroom of the living room, through one of the courtyards. Photo – Anson Smart.

Limestone was also used in the bathrooms for the floors and custom vanities. Photo – Anson Smart.

The build was completed by BAU Construction Group. Photo – Anson Smart.

Landscape design by Fieldwork. Photo – Anson Smart.

Light, European oak is a repeated material throughout the home. Photo – Anson Smart.

Photographic artwork by Tim Hall. Photo – Anson Smart.

The four courtyards, placed on the corners inside the perimeter of the old warehouse walls create green spaces to be enjoyed from every room. Photo – Anson Smart.

‘I love that when the sun shines we are producing solar which provides all our energy needs,’ says Kyra. ‘The incorporation of sustainable elements is subtle and integrated and gives us great satisfaction!’ Photo – Anson Smart.

The old 3.5 metre brick walls of the original warehouse remain as the perimeter of the property. Photo – Anson Smart.

Bea Taylor
22nd of February 2022

When an architect and a developer buy and renovate their own home, you can be fairly sure the results will be something special! This is certainly the case for Kyra Thomas of Kyra Thomas Architects and her husband Julian Reznik, who bought a dilapidated self-storage warehouse, and turned it into a spacious, courtyard home. 

‘We wanted a project that was more interesting than alterations and additions,’ explains Kyra. ‘We were keen to find a site that was an architectural challenge, something we could add value to, and create a generous family home from.’ 

They found this old warehouse in Queens Park, NSW, and bought it the same day. Kyra, who looked beyond its dark and dilapidated structure, immediately saw the potential for a ‘ calm, light-filled family home within the walls of the warehouse.’

Choosing the final design, however, proved to be a challenge; ‘There were hundreds of iterations of the design before I settled on the house we built. There were so many options of what we could do,’ she explains. 

The new 220sqm house – with four exterior courtyards – sits within the 3.5 metre tall walls and 722sqm site of the old warehouse. ‘The result is a complete sanctuary. It’s unbelievably quiet and private,’ says Kyra. ‘The walls act as a buffer between us and the world.’

The house is designed around simple spaces, with a pared back material palette. Kyra worked hard to remove any areas and details that were superfluous, to create a home that was both sustainable and functional. 

For the exterior, painted bagged brick features on new external walls, which connect to the old brick walls of the warehouse. Inside, the material palette is limited to three or four elements; sandblasted limestone for the floors, European oak for the joinery, fresh white walls and ceilings, and light oak furniture. The kitchen cuts a striking form in the midst of the clean interior with black stained oak and stainless steel benchtops. 

‘This contrast from the rest of the house acts like a [Donald] Judd-like sculpture in the middle of open plan living spaces,’ says Kyra. ‘For me, the repetition of a few key natural materials brings warmth, texture and depth to the minimal architectural spaces and keeps the interior space calm and consistent.’ 

The heart of the home lies in the four courtyards, each situated to carry view lines between the different spaces and open up the house. Floor to ceiling windows connect these green spaces to the interior and allow light to permeate through the home. 

‘It’s a total joy,’ says Kyra. ‘The dynamic of having greenery right up against the windows creates beautiful outlooks and connects us to a calm, ever-changing green space.’ 

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